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Friday, August 8, 2014

Another Shameful 'NYT' Casualty Count

Late Friday:  Revised version of story now correctly states that "most" of the casualties in Gaza have been civilians, not "many." Not sure if my widely linked and tweeted complaint (below) had any effect, but hope it did.

On the other hand, in another typical example that suggests the Times, perhaps, bowing to a complaint from IDF:  A headline on another Rudoren story that once read: "A Boy At Play in Gaza, an Israeli Missile, a Mourning Family" has been changed to "A Boy at Play in Gaza, a Return to Warfare, a Family in Mourning."  It's all the more odd because, in a rarity in a Rudoren story, she clearly says that an Israeli drone fired the missile.  Then again, she's in Gaza now.  Perhaps her usual IDF spokesman source couldn't reach he to insist on the usual, "Israel denies...might be Hamas rocket...looking into it...."  Note:  She does severely undercount the death toll of children, which the UN places at 440 tonight, while Rudoren simply has it at "more than 300."

Earlier: Along with many others, we've critiqued Jodi Rudoren's major piece for the NYT the other day which reflected Israel's spin on a supposedly lower civilian body count in Gaza.  At least then, Rudoren still admitted a majority of the dead were likely civilians (even if she rejected UN and other counts that put that percentage at 70 to 82% or more).

But in today's piece, on the end of the ceasefire, written with the other half of the Times' less-than-dynamic duo, Isabel Kershner, they actually write this:   "Since the fighting began on July 8, more than 1,880 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, many of them civilians, and 67 have been killed on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers."  Can you dig it?  "Many" of them civilians, which could mean, oh, 100 or so, not the (even in Rudoren's recent count) 1000 or more.  Perhaps the IDF now claims less than half are civilians and Rudoren, with steno pad out, has relayed that without a journalistic filter.

And then then for the Israelis, "mostly soldiers"--when the tally is actually 64 soldiers and 3 civilians. Do the Times' editors have no shame?

UN tonight updates: about 1400 of 1600 dead IDed in Gaza are civilians, with another 300 fighters or not yet IDed.  That sure is "many" civilians.

As we noted earlier, the IDF (and needless to say, Rudoren's) count is based on statistics showing the a large number of young males have died in the shelling.  The only explanation? They were militants aiding Hamas and so were somehow precisely targeted as fair game by the Israelis.  This, of course, ignores the reality captured by other reporters and  videos: the majority of aid workers, medics, ambulance drivers, and others out in the streets trying to help people, dig out the rubble, or go for food and water are...young males.  Who often then fall victim to new air strikes.  I guess they also all double as Hamas rocketeers.  

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